Rugby choir marks 150 years with two special concerts

Mervyn Bethell.
Mervyn Bethell.

Rugby Philharmonic Choir will perform two special concerts to mark their 150th anniversary celebrations.

The choir has been filling the town with the sound of music since 1867.

A performance by the choir.

A performance by the choir.

Furnished with an eclectic repertoire and a chorus of more than 90 voices, the programme for the 2017 season reflects the origins of the choir and its progression over the last 150 years.

The first concert, 1867 and All That, takes place on Saturday, July 8, from 7.30pm, at Temple Speech Rooms in Rugby.

It will feature music composed during the period surrounding 1867.

The choir will sing Faure’s Requiem, originally performed by the choir in 1974 and considered to be one of the most sublime works in the sacred classical canon. Brahms’ How Lovely are Thy Dwellings, Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves and the Polovtsian Dances by Borodin will also feature on the programme.

In stark contrast and to demonstrate the ability of the choir to deliver a varied repertoire, a concert version of The Pirates of Penzance will be performed in a rousing finale.

Later in the year, the choir’s Christmas Concert is being held on Saturday, December 16, from 7.30pm, Temple Speech Rooms, Rugby

The choir will perform the complete work of Handel’s Messiah, originally performed by the Rugby Philharmonic in 1871.

Musical director Mervyn Bethell said: “It is a huge honour to be able to be the director of music for Rugby Philharmonic Choir in this, their 150th year.

“The choir continues to flourish and has evolved enormously since its birth and we hope it will continue to do so.”

To buy tickets, which are £12.50, or for more information telephone (01788) 815709.